Education Doctorate

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Daniels, Jessica

Second Reader

Marta Shaw, Katina Evans


The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience during participation in higher education of Kumeyaay Indian Nation college graduates. Specifically, the study investigated the factors graduates perceived to contribute to their persistence and attainment of a baccalaureate degree within six years of enrollment at a four-year institution of higher education. Participants included twelve participants who self-identified as members of the Kumeyaay Indian Nation who had earned at least a baccalaureate degree from a four-year institution of higher education within six years of enrollment. MaxQDA was used to organize, code, and synthesize interview transcripts to develop themes pertaining to Kumeyaay college student perceived factors that supported persistence and degree attainments. Four themes emerged from the data: cultural and identity revitalization, discovering the leader within, a support network paradox and what is the alternative? The research findings unveiled significant implications for practice in higher education such as collaborating with local Native American communities to leverage cultural and identity development, empowering Native students with greater opportunities for leadership engagement, establishing Native community-center support networks, and fostering mentorship and opportunities to give back among college graduates from the Kumeyaay Indian Nation. Future research could explore the perceived factors that Kumeyaay college student’s believe impacted persistence and degree attainment with a focus on the selected area of study; whether a student grew up on or off a reservation; or using a larger sample across specific types of four-year institutions of higher education.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation